BBC Critics Seize on Disinformation Correspondent’s 2018 CV Embellishment

From the New European‘s “Mandrake” media column:

We all make mistakes when we are young, and sometimes they grow in irony as time passes. Case in point: Marianna Spring, the BBC’s disinformation correspondent who, I can reveal today, was once caught red-handed lying in her CV to win a job.

…Five years ago, in 2018, Spring was looking for work as a Moscow stringer for US-based news site Coda Story. In her application to editor-in-chief Natalia Antelava, she included a CV in which claimed to have worked alongside BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford on the corporation’s coverage of the football World Cup held in Russia… A simple check by Antelava with Rainsford resulted in the latter admonishing Spring for the embellishment in her CV. A grovelling email apology from Spring to Antelava followed…

The disappointing indiscretion has been seized on with glee by critics of the BBC, including the conspiracy crowd and the anti-NATO left (“a criminal offence”, crows Kit Klarenberg, ludicrously [1]). Some headlines, such as the Telegraph‘s “Marianna Spring: BBC disinformation reporter ‘lied on her CV'” give the false impression that the story relates to her current position. On Twitter (sorry, “X”), Christian Christensen describes the social media reaction as “bro-schadenfreude”.

There is some surprise that the story appeared first in the New European. The column is anonymous, and the flow of information remains opaque. Perhaps it simply found its way there due to chance connections between journalists, but there might be something else going on: someone with a grievance who didn’t want to take their story to predictable anti-BBC news outlets; or possibily even a “friendly” leak to the weekly as news management to pre-empt some more vitriolic anti-BBC source.


1. Klarenberg published a supposed “investigation” of Spring in Grayzone in June, in which he suggested that the lack of anything interesting in her past must be evidence of a cover-up and noted darkly that she had studied at Pembroke College “during the period when disgraced former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove served as its master”. Given Dearlove’s retirement role as a buffoonish opinionator for the Telegraph, the hint of some “intelligence” link between the two is incoherent.